ESB Vader Helmet paint/finishing - DP CA

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Howlrunner

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Always wanted a nice Vader helmet for my collection - I have the Rubies Deluxe/Supreme already, but I really wanted an upgrade. There are some fantastic Vader helmet's out there, but on my budget they are just not an option. Then I found a Don Post Classic Action cast for sale from SkyGunBro at an affordable price....

After quite a bit of cleanup I took the dremel to it:



That was then followed by several coats (and indeed cans!) of BMW Black spray-paint from Halfords. Then following online reference diagrams to mask it off for the two-tone paint job (masking was a PITA):



I did a bit of research on colour for the two-tone - here in the UK we're a bit restricted as to what paint brands are available, so I couldn't get the "real deal" colour. In the end I bought and tested two colours - Ford Polaris Grey metallic (recommended by another RPF member in his thread a while back) and Peugeot Steel Grey metallic. In the end I went with the slightly darker of the two - Steel Grey.



More shortly....
 

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kev1969

Well-Known Member
Looking good :thumbsup i was thinking about getting a SkyGunBro Vader lid, looks a sharp cast :)
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
Indeed ... you're on your way ... to the Dark side ... thanks for mentioning those paints by Halfords ... I have to paint some parts as well :)

Chaim
 

bookface

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looking good, masking one of these can be a bit of a mission if you haven't done it before. For anyone else interested, I found that of the halfords paints, a great grey for prop accuracy is the Rover gunmetal, and if you want something more akin to how it appears on screen then Toyota decuma grey is very good. The Rover paint is quite a lot lighter than the Toyota one, but a really good match to what I've seen in pics taken of the helmet at exhibitions etc. The Peugeot grey looks good too though!
 

Howlrunner

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looking good, masking one of these can be a bit of a mission if you haven't done it before. For anyone else interested, I found that of the halfords paints, a great grey for prop accuracy is the Rover gunmetal, and if you want something more akin to how it appears on screen then Toyota decuma grey is very good. The Rover paint is quite a lot lighter than the Toyota one, but a really good match to what I've seen in pics taken of the helmet at exhibitions etc. The Peugeot grey looks good too though!
Gah! I spent AGES researching online to try to find info about the correct gunmetal grey, and only after painting it do I find reliable info! :cry Ah well, my Peugeot grey will have to do for me.

Got the masking tape off (much easier taking it off than putting it on!) and applied some clear lacquer (also from Halfords). With the lacquer, the difference between the black and the grey is very subtle in pictures (which is more of what I wanted).



Bookface, as a bit of a Vader pro, can you tell me what colour(s?) the mouth and chin grill should be? Bare metal, black, or gunmetal grey? I've read conflicting reports. And the smaller diamond backing? Is that bare metal or black?

The best pic I have is of the ROTJ helmet from an exhibition (Paris I think):

 

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bookface

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The mouth/chin mesh can be done a couple of ways. You can simply paint it, in which case I use Tamiya German grey spray cans. For the Quasimodo helmets I spent quite a bit more time on them and give the mesh a black wash, effectively weathering it down from a bright, shiny metal to a more worn look, which appears to match the picture you posted. I don't add a second layer of mesh as its too fine to be of use for trooping, and too pointless for a display helmet. I know there have been debates about whether the filming helmets even had the second mesh at all.
 

Howlrunner

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Ah, of course! Can't believe I didn't think of doing a wash over the bare metal! Thanks!

Weathered the accurate grill mesh (from Kurtyboy) and installed it. Also added the second mesh (I like the added texture, even if it doesn't show well on display) and some FP aluminium tusks and painted the nose. You can see in this photo that the Peugeot Steel Grey has a little bit of a blue hue to it compared to the ROTJ exhibition helmet posted above, but I can live with it.







(It is NOT easy getting a good glossy ALL over finish with rattle-can clear coat... I'm fairly happy with the finished product now though)

Now I just need accurate amber lenses to finish him off. Anyone know of a source? The FP ones look the wrong colour...
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Wow. Great job so far. I really didn't realize how asymmetrical the OT Vader helmets were. Very interesting.

SB
 

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bookface

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Don't bother buying lenses from anyone, buy a sheet of brown tinted acrylic from plasticonline.co.uk and cut some out with a dremel. Then heat them and press them in to the eye sockets to get the right shape.
 

Howlrunner

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Don't bother buying lenses from anyone, buy a sheet of brown tinted acrylic from plasticonline.co.uk and cut some out with a dremel. Then heat them and press them in to the eye sockets to get the right shape.
Thanks! I ordered the plastic you suggested - it arrived today and I have just been heating it in the oven and pressing it into the sockets with a spoon. Lenses are now finished and inserted.

Last question then - what is the accurate way to "black out" your eyes when wearing the mask? I noticed that in your finished ESB helmet (beautiful!) you have used some kind of (hexagon?) mesh behind the lenses. Is that accurate to the movie prop? And is it a readily available product? Thanks!
 

CSMacLaren

Sr Member
Well, the accurate way - assuming my information is correct - is grease paint around the eyes. The Vader Reveal ROTJ uses a mesh with a very dense pattern of small round holes, so some costumers use that to make one's eyes non-visible. However, on-screen, you never really saw the mesh. If people see it while you're costuming, it may be a distraction to people looking at you, so you may try having the mesh appear black to minimize reflection.
 

Sym-Cha

Master Member
Though what CSMacLaren says maybe correct for the film costume ... in real life when trooping people wanna take pictures of you being dressed as Lord Vader, and now with their smarthphones even often use flash, which will reveal your eyes quite easily ... so in my experience put either a black painted fine mesh or just a thin piece of black cloth behind the lenses whereas you can still see through but your eyes are quite covered and won't be detected. When you have fans installed a fine mesh would work best I suppose to keep the lenses from fogging up inside.

Chaim
 

bookface

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
For the guys who want to troop in their helmets, I use a vinyl mesh on the back of the lenses that you can buy from car parts places, it's what is usually used to place over the headlights of cars to make them look...well, actually I don't know what they're trying to achieve. The Max Power look?
 

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